Rescue Airmen support successful Delta IV rocket launch

The 920th Rescue Wing supported a Delta IV rocket launch May 24, 2013. The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., lit up the night sky while Wing Airmen  safeguarded the hazard zone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Rob Haston)

The 920th Rescue Wing supported a Delta IV rocket launch May 24, 2013. The launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., lit up the night sky while Wing Airmen safeguarded the hazard zone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Rob Haston)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. --

The U.S. Air Force Reserve's 920th Rescue Wing supported United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the third and fourth Orbital ATK-built Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites aboard a Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37B hereat 12:52  a.m. EDT.

Maintenance and aircrew Airmen reported for duty late last night to prep two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters to support the launch. Aircrew flew one of the helicopters to clear the Eastern Range, while the other aircraft remained on standby in case it was needed. The Airmen ensured that mariners maintained a safe distance from the beneath the launch path up to and during the launch. 

The AFSPC-6 mission will deliver two GSSAP satellites into orbit to further the space situational awareness mission.  Operated by Air Force Space Command, the GSSAP System provides precise data seven days a week, 24-hours a day.  The satellites join a GSSAP constellation currently supporting U.S. Strategic Command space surveillance operations as a dedicated Space Surveillance Network sensor.

The GSSAP also supports the Joint Functional Component Commander for Space by collecting space situational awareness data, allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects. 

According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and mission Launch Decision Authority, this launch is the culmination of many long hours and hard work by the entire mission team.

Information within this article was complied from a 45th Space Wing news story.